On the Costa Verde, Green Coast of Rio de Janeiro state of Brazil, about four hours south of Rio itself, is found Paraty. Costa Verde coast was one of the first areas of the long Atlantic seashore of Brazil visited and inhabited by the Portuguese. Set in a scenic bay and guarded by a fortress against attacks by pirates, Paraty port provided excellent shelter for the Portuguese ships. With the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais in the late 16th century, Party became the principal port of the Royal Road, the Estrada Real, that started in Diamantina and traversed through the key mining towns of Ouro Preto, Mariana, Congonhas, Tiradentes and Sao Joao del Rey.
Declared as one of Brazil’s first UNESCO heritage sites, Old Town Paraty is laid out in a perfect grid of streets studded with priceless classical colonial buildings and churches. As if part of the grid the port of Paraty was whence Portuguese ships sailed from carrying gold and diamonds back to motherland. In high tide the streets closest to the seashore flood, washing off the ancient cobblestones. Closed to vehicular traffic, Paraty retains ambiance of bygone era, with horse pulled carriages rumbling through. Tour of Paraty remains one of the highlights of a tour to Brazil.